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Can Food Porn Help You Eat Healthier?

pumpkin2I’m definitely guilty of indulging and contributing to the food porn problem: you know, the one in which I subtly encourage all my friends to indulge in something not-so-healthy by snapping photos of what I’ve just eaten or made and posting it all over the social networks. But what am I supposed to do when I’ve spent a day making toasted marshmallow ice cream, which I then scooped into a graham cracker crust lined with chocolate? I mean really? How could I not take a picture of s’more ice cream pie to share with all my friends? (They were right to want a piece.)

With all of those over-the-top sweets taunting us from the pixels of our electronic devices, are we also right to worry that this technological innovation in which we can “share” whatever we are eating with all of our friends or followers is contributing to our national health crisis? Research says yes — especially because those who are most vulnerable to giving in to food cravings are those who already struggle with weight problems.

I know from my own experience that something delicious and calorie-laden I’ve seen on Instagram or a blog or Facebook will follow me around, whispering my name until I finally give in and re-create it in my kitchen. It is, almost always, worth making and usually worth taking a bite of as well.

But if ogling photos of cheesecake dripping with caramel sauce can inspire cravings, can it do the same for leafy greens and whole grains? While it’s true that the lion’s share of food porn still belongs to desserts, vegetables are a close second. And those photos of brightly colored veggies can be just as intriguing and crave inducing as those dedicated to sugar and butter. I’ve been a victim of beautiful photos of cucumbers and carrots nearly as often as I have of chocolate and cream.

In fact, when I’m stumped for dinner ideas yet again and looking for something tasty and healthy, I often turn to one of my favorite food porn sites: Tasteologie, where I know there’s sure to be a photo of something green and good for me that will inspire my efforts in the kitchen. Even though this repository of food porn has its fair share of cookies stacked high and brownies topped with ice cream topped with melty gooey fudge sauce, it is well-balanced with photos of beds of greens and bowls of nutritionally-alluring grains.

So alluring, in fact, that many times I skip right past the sweets, and keep my eye out for the other kind of pictures — the ones that make kale and quinoa look crave-able. That’s true food porn.

 

photo credit: Lizzie Heiselt

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